Although a federal agent involved in the case claimed that such a trade would "belittle the rule of law," the American judge who in
2012 sentenced Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout to 25 years in prison has expressed support for a deal that would see the United
States trade Bout for basketball player Brittney Griner. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was contacted by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken
on Friday, and he reportedly urged Moscow to accept Washington's request to obtain the release of Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan.
According to a source with knowledge of the circumstances, the US would be open to exchanging Bout, also known as the "Merchant of Death,"
for the two Americans being held in Russia.
"We tried him, found him guilty, and sentenced him to a very lengthy term," said former U.S. Reuters was informed on Thursday by District Judge
Shira Scheindlin, who presided over Bout's trial and sentencing in Manhattan federal court. But now that things have changed, we should make this exchange.
If there had not been a mandated minimum penalty of 25 years, Scheindlin, who retired in 2019 and is now in private practise,
claimed she probably would have given Bout a lighter sentence. She claimed that because he has probably lost connection with his contacts during his 11 years in prison,
She claimed that because he has probably lost connection with his contacts during his 11 years in prison,
The proposed deal, according to Robert Zachariasiewicz, a former Drug Enforcement Administration agent who assisted in leading the team that captured Bout